When & Why American Women First Revealed
Their Bare Feet in Public (Clue: It Was Trilby}
Respectable American women did not reveal their bare feet or toes in public until 1894 when the novel “Trilby” became immensely popular and focused artistic attention on the female foot as an object of beauty and obsession.
Even bathing suits had stockings with foot coverings sewn in, like footed pajamas. The Trilby fad revolutionized social norms and forever altered women’s fashions and footwear. But you’d have to hear them tell it or you wouldn’t believe it. In this anthology they do tell, with more than 500 articles and 150 images from the era. It was all about Trilby, a fictional character and heroine of the novel. She knocked their socks off. And their shoes. And that’s not all. America was intrigued, outraged and transformed. Mesmerized by her feet, her nudity, and her immorality.
Pedicures, sandals, flip-flops, slides, strappy high heels, and foot care regimens all trace their roots to the Trilby fad. This book includes excerpts and images from the original novel, as well as the Kneipp cure (walking barefoot on the grass), barefoot dancing on stage, and beauty contests for prettiest feet.
This book provides a rare glimpse into the history of American fashion trends and an exploration of cultural control over women’s bodies.